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Helpful Foods For Mesothelioma Recovery

Staying Healthy After Mesothelioma

Older woman holding basket of fresh vegetables.

By Faith Franz

What you put into your body is always important, but it becomes even more significant during mesothelioma recovery.  Several foods – primarily whole fruits and vegetables – contain anti-cancer compounds that can improve your response to treatment or trigger your own cancer-fighting mechanisms.

Certain foods work by programming cancerous cells to die. Others work by inhibiting tumor growth or preventing cells from growing additional blood vessels. Still others work by clearing cancer-causing substances from the body. Many foods can perform more than one of these functions.

Some foods with proven anti-cancer benefits include:

  • Garlic – Once it is peeled or crushed, garlic releases a compound called allicin. Allicin can help block the formation of cancer-causing substances. As a result, the National Institutes of Health recognizes garlic as one of several vegetables with anti-cancer properties.
  • Berries – All berries have extremely high levels of antioxidants. These compounds help cleanse the body, and studies even suggest that anthocyanins (one specific antioxidant) can help slow tumor growth.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms – The American Cancer Society acknowledges that these mushrooms can boost the immune system. They also contain high levels of lentinan, which can inhibit tumor growth.

However, almost all types of produce contain vitamins and minerals that play a role in mesothelioma recovery, especially after treatments such as surgery. Oncology dietitians suggest that patients eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables to obtain the full range of these nutrients.

Other Dietary Tips for Mesothelioma Patients

Mesothelioma patients can also use food to help control side effects they may develop during treatment.

For instance, foods with varying fiber contents can help counteract the digestive issues that all too often accompany chemotherapy. High-fiber foods, like raw vegetables, beans and seeds, can stimulate a sluggish digestive system. Make sure to consume plenty of water when on a high-fiber diet. On the other hand, low-fiber foods like eggs and crackers are helpful for patients dealing with diarrhea.

Soft, non-spicy foods (such as pudding and cream-based soups) are ideal for patients who have developed mouth sores. These sores are especially common with certain mesothelioma chemotherapy drugs, such as cisplatin and doxorubicin.

Additionally, soothing foods like mint and ginger can help with nausea and vomiting which can help after a radiation treatment. Starchy foods like toast help absorb stomach acids, while bananas help replenish depleted potassium stores. Patients can work with an oncology nutritionist to learn more about the foods that will assist in recovery.

Author bio: Faith Franz has spent nearly two years researching and writing for The Mesothelioma Center. As an advocate for alternative medicine, she encourages patients to explore all of the treatment options that could potentially save their life. 

The views expressed in this article are those of Faith Franz and do not reflect those of EatingHealthy.org.